Staying safe when having Laser or IPL treatments

Woman getting beauty treatment

It’s that time of year again when we increase the gym sessions to squeeze into the little black dress and book our usual beauty treatments to ensure we dazzle on the Christmas party dance floor. However for some, the traditional festive attendance at the Salon can end in disaster.  We know from first-hand experience of helping people injured in this way how painful and devastating these injuries, which can include severe burns and scarring, can be.

Some popular treatments at this time of year are Laser and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) for hair removal.  An alternative to waxing, these treatments boast long-lasting results for the removal of unwanted hair. Unfortunately the use of lasers and IPL machines is unregulated, resulting in cowboy practitioners exposing customers to painful and often devastating injuries including severe burns and scarring. 

Whilst there are dangers with IPL, if carried out correctly, the treatment can be hugely beneficial to clients. So here are 6 tips to avoid the dangers of Laser/IPL treatments and to ensure the best results:

1. Choose a reputable Salon

Be selective about which Salon you attend. Are they insured? Do they have a website/Facebook page? Are there any online reviews of their services? Are they affiliated with BABTAC (British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology) or HABIA (Hair & Beauty Industry Authority?) What qualifications does the therapist have?
2. Pre-treatment Consultation

Prior to the treatment ensure that your therapist has consulted with you regarding the type of skin you have and whether you are on any medication. Certain medications can make your skin photosensitive and the therapist will have to adjust the settings on the laser device

3. Patch Test

It is important that a patch test is carried out by the therapist in the area where the hair removal is to take place. This is to ensure the correct setting is used on the laser. Too high a setting can causes burns and scarring.

4. Do not sunbathe at least 6 weeks prior to treatment or use self-tanning creams for 2 weeks prior to treatment

Tanned skin cannot be treated with IPL/Laser device as you risk burning the skin.

5. Warning Signs

There will be a degree of pain and discomfort during the treatment which will vary depending on your own pain threshold. The treatment is often compared to a small rubber band snapping on your skin. If the pain goes beyond uncomfortable and you are experiencing concerns you should immediately highlight this to your therapist. Listen to your body’s signs.

6. Follow aftercare advice

Aftercare advice should be rendered following the treatment. Such precautions include avoiding excessive heat such as saunas, exposure to the sun. Avoiding perfumed or skin products which are likely to irritate your skin. Use cooling products such as aloe vera gel to soothe irritated skin. If you experience any burns or scarring you must seek immediate medical attention.

If you have suffered an injury caused by a beauty treatment that has been badly carried out, we can help. Jennifer Watson is a Digby Brown Solicitors with experience and expertise in injuries caused by beauty treatments and hairdressing.

Jennifer can be contacted on 01382 205 921or at